November 30, 2022

Why the disabled fear assisted suicide: Dominic Lawson

Last week’s BBC broadcast of the suicide of 71-year-old Peter Smedley in Switzerland was a public relations triumph for campaigner Sir Terry Pratchett. “This has been a happy event,” he told the BBC.

 

Last
week’s BBC broadcast of the suicide of 71-year-old Peter Smedley in Switzerland
was a public relations triumph for campaigner Sir Terry Pratchett. “This has
been a happy event,” he told the BBC. 

But
journalist Dominic Lawson took issue with this in the Independent:

“It is clear that the intended beneficiaries of
Pratchett’s campaign must be those who are physically incapacitated – as he
fears he will be: the fully able-bodied need not call upon others to kill us.
For this reason, any legislators thinking of backing Pratchett’s cause would do
well to consult the members of the charity Scope. Scope represents the hundreds
of thousands of Britons with cerebral palsy, far and away the most common form
of congenital physical disability and which affects, to a greater or lesser
extent, one in every 400 children born in the UK.”

He continues: 

“The chief executive of Scope, Richard Hawkes, having
observed the head of steam building up behind the campaign for voluntary
euthanasia, has sensibly been spending much of his time consulting his members,
and other disability groups, about their feelings on this matter. Last month
Scope released one of the results, a poll by ComRes, which revealed that no
fewer than 70 per cent of disabled people are concerned that the changes in the
law advocated by Pratchett would create pressure on vulnerable patients to ‘end
their lives prematurely’.”

One
woman named Valerie, a 71-year-old woman from Islington in north London, said
at a meeting that if she fell over in the street when she was younger, people
would help her up. However, she said, “now people just walk past.” Lawson
comments: 

“That is the state of mind, on both sides, in which
assisted suicide for the severely physically disabled could so insidiously turn
from being a liberating option into something more like an oppressive social
obligation. I have no doubt that Terry Pratchett’s campaign has good
intentions; but for the very people he most means to help, they could pave the
road to Hell.” ~ Independent,
Jun 14

 

Why the disabled fear assisted suicide: Dominic Lawson
Jared Yee
assisted suicide
UK